CO relieved of command after tanker collision

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CO relieved of command after tanker collision

Postby Malcom » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:38 am

With so many officers and so few boats to command...I have to admit to being a bit surprised by this one.

Another Submarine Skipper Relieved Of Command

By Seth Owen

Published on 1/31/2007

A Jan. 8 collision with a Japanese supertanker has cost the skipper of the USS Newport News his command, the U.S. Navy announced Monday.
Rear Adm. Douglas J. McAneny relieved Cmdr. Matthew A. Weingart of command Monday “due to a lack of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a statement from the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet. McAneny, commander of Combined Task Force 54, named Capt. Norman B. Moore, one of his staff officers, to take temporary command of the Newport News.

The Newport News was submerged and traveling south through the Strait of Hormuz when its bow came in contact with the stern of the Japanese supertanker Mogamigawa, which was also southbound, said Submarine Force spokesman Lt. Cdr. Christopher Loundermon Tuesday. While no crew members on either vessel were injured, both ships were damaged.

Loundermon said the investigation of the incident was continuing, so no details were being released yet, but he said that “hydrodynamic forces may have played a role in the incident.”

The submarine was not trying to surface when the accident occurred, Loundermon said.

The Newport News went to Bahrain after the accident under its own power, where it is still being evaluated, Loundermon said. “No decision will be made until the assessment is complete,” Loundermon said.

Once the amount and type of damage is determined the submarine will undergo temporary repairs in Bahrain and then return to the United States for permanent repairs, he said. Which shipyard will get the work will depend on what repairs are needed and what facilities are available, Loundermon said.

The Newport News is a 6,300-ton Los Angeles -class submarine based in Norfolk, Va. It was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock and launched in 1984.

The Mogamigawa displaces more than 300,000 tons, and has a draft of about 70 feet, according to the U.S. Navy. The accident occurred at about 10:45 p.m. local time, according to the Mogamigawa's owner, the K Line. The very large crude carrier continued on to Singapore for inspection, according to the K Line Web site.

The average depth of the Strait of Hormuz in the area of the incident is about 320 feet.

A physical phenomenon known as the “venturi effect” may have caused the much larger supertanker to suck the smaller submarine up into its hull as the supertanker passed over it, Loundermon has said.

Weingart, a native of San Jose, Calif., took command of the Newport News on March 4, 2005, according to the submarine's Web site.

Weingart is the second commander of a Norfolk-based submarine to be relieved of command in January. Earlier in the month Cmdr. Edwin J. Ruff Jr. was relieved of the command of the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul after two sailors were killed after being washed overboard as the submarine left Plymouth, England, in rough seas. Two other sailors survived that accident.
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